Williams N'Dah wins second straight Defensive Player of the Year
The Ocean City Nor’easters added another winning season to the club’s 23-year resume and there were a number of individual players who helped make that happen. To honor those key individuals that helped the club to a 6-3-5 record and a second place finish in the Mid-Atlantic Division, the Nor’easters coaching staff voted to determine Ocean City’s 2019 team award winners.
The Nor’easters have been giving out team awards since the 2006 season, and now 2019 will mark the first time that Ocean City will have a repeat Most Valuable Player.
For the second year in a row, Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England) has been named the club’s MVP. After leading the team and the league in scoring (and winning the league MVP), Corfe was also an easy choice for the team's Offensive Player of the Year. Another repeat winner was Williams N’Dah (Charleston / Rome, Italy) who became just the second Nor’easters player to be named the Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.
The Storm’s Brandon Smalley (Florida Tech / Bridlington, England) battled back from injury last season and was named the team’s 2019 Creative Player of the Year. The team’s Breakthrough Player of the Year was first-year defender Albert Andres-Llop (West Virginia / Castellon, Spain). Ocean City’s Young Player of the Year is Marco Torino (St. Peter’s / Rome, Italy) and the Nor’easter Award was given to defender Gustavo Fernandes (Stony Brook / West Babylon, NY) for his work on and off the field.
Deri Corfe - Most Valuable Player / Offensive Player of the Year
Corfe is not only the club’s first repeat MVP, but the Chester, England native is also the first player to win the MVP award and the Offensive Player of the Year award in the same season. With 14 goals, Corfe ties the Nor’easters’ single-season record and becomes just the second player in club history to win the USL League Two scoring title, as he finished tied with Kyle Edwards of Brazos Valley Cavalry FC. Corfe tied the team goalscoring record set by Chevaughn “ Chevy” Walsh back in 2016 when he won the league MVP award. However, Corfe scored his 14 goals in two fewer games (12) than Walsh.
Corfe scored three game-winning goals, added a game-winning assist and created a goal (either by scoring or assisting) in nine of the 12 games he played in. The majority of his goalscoring total came against top competition. Nine of his 14 goals were scored against the top four teams in the Mid-Atlantic Division, headlined by his hat trick on July 7 when the Nor’easters handed division winner Reading United AC, 4-1 in the 50th all-time meeting with their rivals.
For his efforts, Corfe was selected for the USL League Two All-Eastern Conference team (Last year, he was an honorable mention pick for the all-conference team), the USL League Two Team of the Year (The league's Best 11) and the USL-2 MVP.
"14 goals in 12 games in one of the most competitive divisions in the league. That's all that needs to be said," said Nor'easters head coach Kevin Nuss. "Deri scored more goals himself than 10 teams in the league. Needless to say, he was vital for us this year."
Offensive Player of Year was really a two-man race as Corfe and teammate Claudio Repetto scored 22 of the team’s 27 goals. With Corfe’s 14 goals and 3 assists, he accounted for 63% of the team’s offense. Repetto finished among the league leaders with 8 goals and 3 assists. Between the two players, they scored 22 goals, which tied the Nor’easters club record for the highest-scoring offensive duo. They tied the record set in 2004 by Byron Carmichael and league MVP Ruben Mingo during the club’s undefeated regular season.
Combining with last year’s debut season in Ocean City, Corfe has put together one of the best two-year runs in Nor’easters history. He finishes his second season at the Shore with 20 goals and 6 assists (46 points). His 20 goals and 46 points both rank third in club history behind Mingo (2003-06) and Carmichael (2004-11).
The Chester, England native started his youth soccer career playing at the Manchester City Academy. He moved to the United States where he signed with the University of Rio Grande (Ohio), which is a powerhouse at the NAIA level. After two successful seasons, he signed with Wright State University and had a great first season for the Raiders. Corfe helped Wright State to a 13-3-0 record and a national ranking and was an all-conference and all-region selection. He scored 10 goals and dished out 8 assists, was tied for the team lead in scoring (28 points) and led the team in shots and shots on goal.
Williams N’Dah – Defensive Player of the Year
For the second year in a row, Williams N’Dah anchored the Nor’easters backline and, for the second in a row, was recognized as the club’s Defensive Player of the Year. The only other player in team history to win the honor in back-to-back years was Tapiwa Machingauta in 2012 and 2013. N’Dah started every game and led all defenders in minutes played (1,182). There were just two games all season that N’Dah didn’t play the full 90 minutes as he was one of the team’s most consistent defenders. He also contributed offensively by assisting on Claudio Repetto’s opening goal in the team’s 4-1 win over Reading United AC on July 7.
"Will was a special player for us again this year," said Nuss. "He played in several different positions when we needed him and exceled at every spot."
Last fall, N’Dah had another exceptional season at the University of Charleston (WV). He was the anchor and captain of one of the top defensive teams in the country as the Golden Eagles had 15 shutouts and led the nation in goals against average (0.18). N’Dah also contributed on the offensive end of the field, scoring three goals. He would ultimately be named the Mountain East Conference Defensive Player of the Year and would be a first-team all-conference selection. The Golden Eagles finished with an 18-1-2 record, winning the MEC championship and losing their only game in the Third Round of the NCAA tournament against West Chester University by the score of 1-0. N'Dah will return to the program in the fall for his final year of eligibility.
Brandon Smalley – Creative Player of the Year
After missing all of last season due to injury, Smalley rebounded as one of four Nor’easters to play in every single game during the 2019 season. As the team’s top playmaker, Smalley was named the Nor’easters’ Creative Player of the Year.
The Florida Tech product started 12 of the 14 games and dished out a team-leading four assists. He had his first two assists in his first home game of the season. In front of the home crowd at the Beach House on June 1, Smalley assisted on Deri Corfe’s opening goal in the 22nd minute and then Ilias Kosmidis’ 85th minute game-winner in a 2-1 win over Evergreen FC. Next, he assisted on another opening goal from Corfe on June 23 in a 3-1 home win over FA Euro New York. He would pick his fourth assist in the club’s season finale at the Beach House on July 14 when his pass to Corfe turned into the go-ahead goal just before halftime in a 3-3 draw with the Long Island Rough Riders.
"Brandon didn’t end up on the scoresheet for us as often he deserved to be this year but he largely impacted matches by creating chances that led to our goals," said Nuss. "He played a huge role for us in the midfield."
The hope is that with a successful season at the Jersey Shore, Smalley will pick up where he left off in his sophomore season at Florida Tech. He will return this fall after missing all of last season due to injury. The year before, Smalley was a first-team All-Sunshine State Conference selection and was named to the First Team CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.
Albert Andres-Llop – Breakthrough Player of the Year
Andres-Llop was a late addition to the 2019 roster and immediately stepped in and won the starting job at left back and would not let it go. He played every minute, except when he received a red card in the 79th minute of the team’s June 28 home game against Lehigh Valley United. The remaining 11 minutes of that game and the following game were the only games he would miss down the stretch as he would start the last three games, helping the Nor’easters finish the season on a seven-game unbeaten streak and finish in second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division.
"Albert joined us mid-season but made a big impact right away," said Nuss. "He helped us to solidify defensively but was key in getting us forward as well."
Andres-Llop came to Ocean City for the first time from West Virginia University where he has been a starter from day one on the Mountaineer backline. He has been productive both on the offensive and defensive end of the field at the Division I college level. He helped the Mountaineers earn 22 clean sheets in his first three seasons, but he was also the team’s top goalscorer in his first two years on campus. Last fall, he only scored one goal, but he dished out eight assists, which was second on the team.
Marco Torino – Young Player of the Year
After making just two appearances off the bench, Torino was inserted into the starting lineup on June 30 at home against the Cedar Stars Rush. Torino, who turned 20 earlier in the season, started three of the last four games of the season as the Nor’easters wrapped up the 2019 campaign on a seven-game unbeaten streak. Torino, who has spent two summers in Ocean City is one of the team’s most exciting young players.
"Although he played with some injuries, Marco had a very strong year for us," said Nuss. "He played in several positions this year and we look forward to seeing him continue to grow as part of this club."
After transferring from Hartwick College, Torino stepped in for his sophomore season at St. Peters University and was one of their top scorers. He finished with four goals and one assist in 16 games (13 starts), with two of those goals being game-winners for the Peacocks. He will begin his junior season this fall.
Gustavo Fernandes – Nor’easters Award winner
|Gustavo Fernandes (left) and Claudio Repetto of the Ocean City Nor'easters dance at an event in Ocean City, NJ. Photo: Kerri Janto, Kerri J Photography|
The Nor’easter Award is given each year to a player who embodies the spirit of the Ocean City Nor’easters organization both on and off the field. This year’s winner is Gustavo Fernandes.
On the field, he played in 12 of the team’s 14 games, starting 10 of them on the backline. Fernandes started the last eight games for the Nor’easters and after a loss on the road against Reading United, he would lead the Ocean City defense to a seven-game unbeaten streak to finish the season.
“We have had some top class people who have played for this club in my time but Gustavo is one of my favorite," said Nuss. "He is as good of a person, as he is a player on the field.”
Fernandes would also contribute offensively, assisting on Corfe’s goal in Ocean City’s 3-1 road win over the Long Island Rough Riders. He also scored a goal in the Noreasters’ 4-0 exhibition win over Atlantic City FC.
“It was a true pleasure to have Gustavo in Ocean City this season,” said Jill Adamson, who was the club’s Director of Marketing and Community Relations. “The community embraced him immediately, especially the kids. He's a class act, and was always willing to help me whenever needed. Gustavo is so kind and always had a smile on his face and quickly became a fan favorite. He will always have a home here in Ocean City.”
Fernandes began his college career at Iowa Western where was an NJCAA All-American before transferring to New York to attend Stony Brook University. He made an impact in his first season with the Seawolves as he was a second-team all-conference selection last fall and scored four goals. He will begin his senior season this fall.